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Online course

Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game

Learn basic Java programming by developing a mobile game that you can run on your computer, Android phone or tablet.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game

Why join the course?

Take your first steps into the world of computer programming and learn how to build your own mobile game in just five weeks. You’ll be introduced to the basic constructs and the principles behind computer programs, as well as the building blocks that are used to create them. Using the same tools as industry professionals, you’ll create algorithms to solve problems and translate them into code. Each week you’ll put into practice your new-found skills by changing the game code provided in the course, creating a game unique to you.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsHi, I'm Karsten Lundqvist. I love gaming. I also like coding. Currently I work a lot on Android programmes. And that's why we're here.

Skip to 0 minutes and 16 secondsI started out with an Amstrad and I coded on it. And I learned to code that way. Code is everywhere, in dishwashers, in cars, in space shuttles. But it's actually not rocket science. Everyone can learn. When you write a programme, you rarely start with a blank canvas. Instead, you bring together ideas that you've met before, quite often from seeing other people's code. Seeing how they worked, modify them, adding extra functions. Didn't necessarily understand the whole programme, but we could concentrate on one particular bit. In this course, we we'll be developing a game together. We'll start out with a ball in the middle of the screen. We'll move it around. We'll introduce a few programming constructs that will control the ball.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 secondsIn that way we'll get a real game. But through that process, we will actually learn different programming constructs. You will be part of a bigger community, who is helping you to do the learning. So that, if you don't understand something, you can go on, for instance, to our frequently asked questions page. So let's get started. I hope you enjoy the course.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1:

  • An introduction to the course, programming and the development environment for building the mobile game.
  • Setting up the software
  • Setting up the testing environment for your game

Week 2:

  • Debugging and operators.
  • Different data types and variables
  • Introduction to operators
  • Applying variables and operators to the game
  • Modifying the game to change the speed of the ball and moving the ball to a position specified by user.

Week 3:

  • Conditional statements and comments.
  • Array variables and looping constructs.
  • Modifying the program to make the ball stay on the screen and adding a control paddle for the user.
  • Modifying the game to include multiple target objects for the ball to bounce from. The target objects are implemented using arrays and accessed using ‘for’ loops.

Week 4:

  • How to decide which algorithm is required to solve more complex tasks.
  • Considering which algorithm to implement, to modify the game.
  • Functions or methods – separate parts of a program.
  • Modifying the program using functions to replace any repeated code.

Week 5:

  • Consolidation of the course – analysing the game.
  • Considering the process behind implementing another game.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Compile and run a java application on a mobile phone or emulator
  • Modify java code
  • Identify and use different data types and Java programming constructs
  • Develop a simple program in Java to run on a mobile phone

Who is the course for?

This beginners’ course teaches the basics of programming and you don’t need any knowledge of coding to take part. You may find it challenging at times, but we hope it’ll be fun too. However, the course does require you to be comfortable downloading, unzipping and installing software to your computer. If you think that you may find this difficult, you may like to have someone with a good knowledge of IT on hand to help you – particularly in Week 1.

The 4 hours per week is an estimate based on past participants’ experiences, however some previous participants have reported taking much less time, while others take considerable longer to complete some weeks. This will depend on your experience and to some extent how powerful your computer is.

This course includes video content and other visual teaching methods. As such, blind and visually impaired students may need a helper.

What software or tools do you need?

The course will give you an opportunity to write and edit your own programming code using specific software. To run this software effectively, we recommend a computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) that has a dual-core processor and a minimum of 2GB of RAM — though this may vary. For information on operating system support see the Android developers’ site.

We do recommend using a computer to complete the practical coding exercises in this course, but if you just want to watch the videos and read the tutorials, you should be able to access these on most web connected devices, such as smartphones, tablets and consoles.

We recommended that you have an Android device (such as a phone or tablet) running at least Android 2.2 on which you can test and run your game. If you don’t have an Android device you can use an emulator on your computer, but this is a much slower and more error-prone process.

Who will you learn with?

Richard Mitchell

I am Professor of Cybernetics in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Reading. My interests include Education, Computing, Control, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Gaia Theory.

Timothy Threadgold

Teaching Fellow and Doctoral candidate at the University of Reading. Currently writing my thesis on novel materials for multilayer infrared filters for space based applications.

Karsten Lundqvist

A few years ago I had the idea to create the "Begin Programming" course. It was one of my better ideas.

I enjoy games, coding, American Football, and exploring the country I now live in.

Who developed the course?

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $74 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

Image access mobile

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

Image certificate mobile

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV
  • Includes free shipping

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.